Archive for the ‘relationship’ Category

“I Am Heathcliffe!”

June 21st, 2009

“Nelly, I am Heathcliffe!  He’s always in my mind…

as my own being”

(Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights)

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”

(Galatians 2:20)

In Emily Bronte’s nineteenth century English novel, Wuthering Heights, we encounter the expressed feelings of Cathy about Heathcliffe. An English literature professor once remarked about this Bronte piece that it was too melodramatic and thick to be real.    Perhaps, the scene where Heathcliffe begins to dig up his Cathy’s grave with his bare hands is over the top.  But, love does strange things.  What are we going to do with Paul’s Galatians 2:20 statement?  Is that also mere hyperbole?  Or, does love actually compel us to do strange things when we are passionate about what matters?  Before we dismiss this  loving sync in a relationship, consider the following adapted chart of John 17 (The Reformation Study Bible, ESV, ed. R.C. Sproul (Ligonier Ministries: Orlando, 2005), 1546-about Jesus’ desire for a deep and devoted relationship with his disciples.

Subject Father to Son Son to Believer

Unity                                      vv. 21, 23                                vv. 21, 23, 26

Glory                                      vv. 22, 24                                v. 22

Love                                        vv.23, 24, 26                           vv. 23, 26; 13:1

Purpose                                   vv. 18, 23, 25                          v. 18

Knowledge                              v. 25                                        vv. 3, 8, 25, 26

In the words of the song, Poured Out Like Wine, we have the question

“Would you be so one with Me that you would do just as I will?”

-Robert M. Housby

Ritual or Relationship?

February 25th, 2007

“Those whose god is religion will not have God in their religion”

– Erskine

“…having a form of godliness, but denying its power”

(2 Timothy 3:5, NKJV)

The English Standard Version translates 2 Timothy 3:5—“…having the appearance of godliness.” Things are not always as they appear. Paul condemns this kind of Christianity. It seems that some are quite religious in the sense of having the ritual down pat, but, in actuality, there is something very wrong. The relationship aspect is missing.

Today, it is of vital necessity that we worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Going to assembly should be a habit of the heart (Hebrews 10:23-25). Hearing the gospel preached; praying to the Father; eating the Lord’s Supper—these are all examples of having vital communion with God. While they do contain ritual, in the sense that they are repeatable, they also afford precious moments of relationship with the Lord. Form of worship is important (2 Tim. 1:13; Rom. 6:17; etc), but, so is function. Hebrews 8:10 reads: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

One’s heart should not be made of stone (see Ezek. 11:19). Religious format and religious relationship are both valid Scripturally. May your religious habits (ritual) always be conjoined in heart (relationship).

– Robert M. Housby